Didn't catch the Suns game last night? Wondering how Alex Len got his 31 points? Wondering how in the heck the Suns got one over on the Orlando Magic?
All you need to do is watch this video for a taste.
Alex Len was making jumpers from all over the court, bullying his way to the basket for fouls or finishes, and generally cleaning the glass for the Suns' first 30/15 game in six years.
That's right. Len's career high 31 points plus 15 rebounds is the Suns' first 31/15 game since Amare Stoudemire did it in 2008. Only nine players in 48 years of Suns history have posted at least one 31/15 game, including Larry Nance, Amare, Shawn Marion and Charles Barkley, along with one-offs from A.C. Green, James Edwards, Clifford Robinson and Tom Chambers. Among them, only Amare posted a 31/15 game at a younger age than Alex Len.
Len becomes only the 6th NBA player this season with a 31/15 game. All of the others are All-Stars: DeMarcus Cousins (4 times), Anthony Davis (2), Dwight Howard, James Harden and Andre Drummond.
Len also becomes the league's 6th youngest (22 years, 262 days) to post a 31/15 in the last ten years. The only guys younger than Len to post 31/15 since 2006: Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Andrew Bynum, Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and DeMarcus Cousins. All of them All-Stars at least once.
This is not to say Alex Len will be an All-Star. I'm not going down that road at all. I'm just pointing out how rare it is to post a 31/15 game in the NBA. Guys don't just do that on a "good night". It takes rare talent. Len has it. If he can harness that talent into action on a regular basis, maybe just maybe he can challenge Devin Booker for highest ceiling on the team.
Len talked to Paul Coro about finally being physically ready for the challenge of being a #1 option after suffering from ankle issues the last two seasons.
"Sometimes, when you get an opportunity, you're not ready; that's not what it was," said Len, who made 10 of 22 shots from the field and 11 of 14 free throws. "This year, I feel like I'm coming into my own.
"And it's only the beginning."
Len loves Orlando. He previously set a career high of 20 points against the Magic on December 9, 2015, back when the Suns were an okay team with top scorers Brandon Knight, Eric Bledsoe, T.J. Warren all in the lineup.
Since being made a starter next to Tyson Chandler and handed the reins as the Suns' go-to option on offense, Len has set new career highs of 22 and 23 points in the past two weeks, and now 31 last night.
Since the All-Star break, Len has scored 12+ points in every game and has five double-doubles with points and rebounds over the last seven games. He'd had six double-doubles in the first 51 games.
P.J. Tucker warned us a few days ago that Len was just scratching the surface of his potential and would be posting 30/20 games soon. Well, here's a 31/15 game for starters.
Over the past 11 games, Len is averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds per game. Not "per 36", but per game.
The Suns currently have a firm hold on the 3rd worst record in the NBA, and Brooklyn (currently 4th) seems to have no interest in taking that spot. They won in overtime last night to stay two wins better than the Suns.
Meanwhile, the Lakers and Sixers have zero interest in giving up their worst and second-worst records in the league. Healthy most of the year, the Lakers are starting sit guys with nagging injuries including Kobe Bryant, Jordan Clarkson and Lou Williams in recent days.